The Making of a Marchioness Paperback – 8 Dec 2010
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'Delightful...A sparky sense of humour combined with lively social commentary make this a joy to read.' -- The Bookseller August 2001 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (1849 –1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Born Frances Eliza Hodgson, she lived in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. After the death of her father the family was forced to sell their home, and suffered economic hardship. Until she was sixteen she lived in Salford, and when she was sixteen the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. There Burnett turned to writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines by the time she was nineteen. In 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington D.C. There she began to write novels, the first of which That Lass o' Lowries, was published to good reviews. The publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little Princess. Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and remarried in 1900, although her second marriage only lasted for a year. At the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As many have said the story is melodramatic. Burnett was a more than competent writer and a marvellous observer of people and society. She makes her heroine frankly and explicitly stupid,but keeps our sympathy for her. (Incidently, contrary to what some reviewers state Emily Fox-Seton is handsome going on beautiful, as the woodcut illustrates.)
What makes the booke for me is her observation of society and people--from a middle-aged marquis to a lower-middle-class servant to a whole rural village. These are not saccharine portraits, but sharp and witty comments on the society of late 19th century Britain. You could write a useful social history of that time from this book.
The description of the plight of poor but genteel women before employment as other than servants was available is extremely touching. The disintegration of an aging aristocratic lady as she finds herself subject to ordinary human feelings for the first time for many years is very funny--and very moving.
Definitely a keeper!
The book is very oddly-structured. The first part is a very charming fairytale, as well as a caustic comment on the plight of unmarried women in Victorian society. Emily is bowled over by gratitude and relief when she receives a proposal from a stodgy marquis who doesn't love her, because he has rescued her from a terrifying descent into middle-age as a distressed gentlewoman. But the second part, which is high Victorian melodrama, seems to have been tagged on as something of an afterthought. (The author admitted that she hadn't thought it through as a whole.) Though I suppose it is also a caustic comment on the plight of heirs presumptive whose great expectations (and those of their wives) can so cruelly be blighted!
I'm sure Frances HB had great fun writing it but it reads as though she knocked it off in something of a hurry!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book does seem irritating today, simply because the heroine is unrealisticly perfect. She is rich people's dream of the hardworking, ever content-with-her-place in life,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Helle Dorrit Sorensen
This is a portrait of how the ordinary becomes extraordinary, of how you don't have to be beautiful, intelligent or academic to be special to somebody. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Hampstead Mackem
Just started reading this but very well written and takes you back to another era and way of living lifePublished on 15 Feb. 2014 by Amazon Customer
Loved the wonderful use of language which gave the story a depth and grandeur of its time. Great twist towards the end. could be regarded as heavy going as very detailed. Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2014 by kittycat
I came across this book by chance , and it was a wonderful surprise, beautifully written and with an unexpected plot emerging part way through the book . Read morePublished on 13 Dec. 2013 by Jan
An adult book by Hodgson Burnett. What was originally a contemporary romantic thriller is now a delightful and light historical romantic thrillerPublished on 18 Oct. 2013 by Mrs. DS
Hands up if you thought Frances Hodgson-Burnett only wrote for children? I know I did until I came across this book recently. Read morePublished on 1 May 2013 by Female Scriblerian
great book,very good value for money. Surprised I hadn't come accross it before. So glad it was recommended to me!Published on 1 May 2013 by sandra horner
Had not known of this novel. Interesting read, not one of her best, plot is contrived, but good on the plight of penniless upper-class spinsters. Read morePublished on 29 April 2013 by BatMam